As you may know – I lead a fairly stressful life running my own IT company. Every now and then you get given a day as a present; to make up for the hard work. Today has been one of those days! It started in a quite unpromising way. I awoke on the sofa in the lounge at around 8.40am (I’m sharing my room, and my co-habitee was a little noisy). We’d had a dribble of rain overnight, and the clouds were low over the tops of the hills – in fact Beinn Dhubh, which I climbed yesterday, was completely shrouded. I then had to drop Allan and his dad Jim round to the drop off point for their SOTA activities today. The drive back through the hills was pleasant enough, but the best was about to start.
I got back to the cottage to find Aldo and Neill cooking a full Scottish breakfast, which tasted absolutely wonderful. I then split the morning between relaxing in the cottage and running a pile-up on 20m.
By early in the afternoon the sun had come out, and so I decided to do a short local walk to test out some new software with my GPS. I walked about half a mile to the hamlet of Likisto, which lies by the side of the Loch. I sat on a boulder in the sun for about half an hour just looking down the Loch admiring the view, and watching the wildlife. Sheep mainly. Strolling back I passed a cottage where I was greeted by two dogs, followed swiftly by their owner – a chap called Harvey who moved to the Island from Leeds in 2007. Harvey and his partner run a salon in Tarbert, and are setting up their croft as a campsite. They also have a black house (Look it up on Wikipedia), which was originally a weaver’s cottage. This is being renovated with the help of Channel Five’s "Build a new life in the country". Harvey showed me the cottage, and we chatted at length about life on Harris, the locals, etc. Everything on the island is imported, so the cost of living is about fifty percent more expensive than at home – but Harvey bought his croft, the black house, a couple of other properties and 13 acres of tenanted land (Rent £11 per annum for the lot) for just over £100k. Worth a thought!
Harvey also pointed out "The Sleeping Woman" – if you look at the ridge line of the mountains opposite our cottage you can clearly see the shape of a woman lying down. Apparently a local artist has sculpted out her navel, and tiled it, etc. A few of us are going to seek this out in the next couple of days. Harvey also recommended a couple of restaurants we might like for our Thursday meal – so I’m off to try and make a reservation.
On the radio front, the stations continue to perform well, especially on 80m, 40m, and 20m. Best DX so far is South Africa on 20m this morning. The QSO count has passed 1300 – so we might break last year’s overall figure of 1600 shack QSOs by the end of the day if we stick at it!
(Geoff, Andy, Rob and Gav operating)
Allan, MM1BJP has just staggered in from his day on the hills. He successfully activated GM/SI-117 and GM/SI-116 – knocking out around 18 contacts each into UK and Europe on 5MHz, 40m and 20m. After three summits in two days, he’s reserving judgment on tomorrow!